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August 7th, 2006
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Will Ferrell in Columbia Pictures' Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - 2006

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay wrote Talladega Nights, as they did with Anchorman: The Ron Burgundy Story. Adam directed the movie and Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin) produced it.

The film tells the story of NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, whose one thought throughout his life is, "I wanna go fast." Ricky, played by Will Ferrell (Anchorman and Old School), is a self-absorbed, harmless, not too bright guy. His fervor for racing comes from his dad. Gary Cole (The Ring 2 and One Hour Photo) plays Reece Bobby, who is so addicted to speed that he passes the hospital while his wife is in labor because he wanted to keep driving fast. Lucy Bobby, played by Jane Lynch (Best in Show and The 40 Year Old Virgin), is probably the most normal in the Bobby family. Ricky Bobby's best friend is Cal Naughton Jr., portrayed by John C. Reilly (Dark Water and Chicago). He sacrifices his own winning ambition for Ricky and is as clueless as Ricky when it comes to anything but racing. Ricky becomes a winning hero to the NASCAR fans by his ability to out-maneuver everyone at very high speeds, with Cal's help, of course. One day, in a bar, Ricky meets Jean Girard, a Formula One driver. Jean, played by Sacha Baron Cohen (Da Ali G Show), is a gay Frenchman who drinks Perrier and reads "The Stranger" by Camus while driving. He has come to America to race against Ricky and win. When these two are racing, it is plain to Ricky and his crew that Jean is faster than Ricky. Cal crashes his race car and is unable to help Ricky win this race. Ricky has an accident too and thinks he is on fire and now paralyzed. Poor Ricky Bobby can no longer race, as he now fears the speed that once drove him to race. His trophy wife leaves him, he loses his home and is no longer friends with Cal. The only job he is qualified for is delivering pizza, on a Huffy bike. Will Ricky Bobby return to the NASCAR circuit? Does he get his wife back? Most importantly, can he beat that Frenchman who caused all the trouble in the first place?

The Blonde: Talladega Nights was like The Days of Thunder meets Anchorman meets Jerry Springer. This was definitely a different, off the track kind of funny! If you like Will, you will love this film. To enjoy his films, you really have to get his out-of-balance type of silly humor. Luckily for the moviegoers at our screening, they got it and laughed throughout; actually, they roared.

The Maven: So many of the movies out nowadays depend solely on the main character. If you don't like him or her, you won't like the movie. That is how it is with Talladega Nights. You have to enjoy Will Ferrell and his ability to take silly things so seriously that you have to laugh. His character, Ricky Bobby, is an idiot, but he can sure go fast in a car. That's about all this man is capable of doing. The filmmakers captured the racing world's intenseness and their ability to highlight product placements. I know the film was silly, but it was really funny. The humor stopped just short of ridiculous. I especially liked Sacha Baron Cohen's character, Jean Girard. His accent was a dead-on Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther.

The Blonde: I thought the character Lucy Bobby was great, played by Jane Lynch. She is always fantastic, versatile, and her characters are under AND over the top, which make her so likable.

The Maven: Ya know Blonde, we always complain about our children's bad behavior, but those kids were sooooo bad. Their names were funny enough, they didn't have to open their mouths at all. Walker and Texas Ranger; that's hilarious. It is so Jerry Springer! Well, actually the whole movie was. I felt guilty laughing, but there were some really funny scenes.

The Blonde: I thought you loved Springer, or was that Howard Stern, close enough. It was hilarious, though. When one goes into this film, they must go with the right mindset. Yes, it is stupid, but funny is funny and this was. I think you forgot that our kids were just as bad in their own obnoxious way. All kids today have their own shtick! I mean, WE certainly had our moments but kids today have no limits. I loved, however, how they did manage to tweak their little attitudes. I wish we had that formula!

The Maven: I thought we had heard the last of Star Jones, but I was wrong. Now she is threatening legal action against the person who is spreading the lie that her marriage is a sham. Apparently her legal representatives claim they are close to discovering this "vindictive" individual and will expose said person soon. She will do anything to stay in the public eye.

The Blonde: Talk about desperate. Speaking of shams, I am having the hardest time finding baby blue ones with a matching comforter and skirt. Maybe Star could help me on that. She certainly is THE know-it-all these days.

The Maven: So Blonde, will you take a cue from Pam Anderson and wear a bikini to your next wedding reception? Of course I am assuming you will wed again.

The Blonde: If I have the same surgery she has had, I just might do it! That is...if George is okay with my wearing a bikini. He may not want to share so much of me with the wedding guests.

The Maven: Yeah. Like George will really care! He has already claimed he will not marry again, so who will be your next ex-husband? Surely not Mel. Brad is involved right now. So is Antonio.

The Blonde: Oh STOP ALREADY! First of all, George doesn't want to wed again, but he wasn't including ME! Next, Brad is losing his patience with ANGELINA, or haven't you been reading the Enquirer? As for Antonio, he is too busy with his career anyway!! AS FOR MR. GIBSON, I DON'T WANT HIM ANYMORE.... And besides, with his views, he would NEVER break the glass at the wedding NOR dance to the hora OR stand under a Chupah! WOULD YOU, MEL? AND I am sure potato latkes and Manischewitz Wine would be totally out of the question, too! I won't even bring up the notion of keeping kosher!

The Maven: Well, you can keep believing you have a chance with any of them. Me, I'm going to aim much lower. Burt Reynolds is single, past his prime and there is no chance I will scare him away by wearing a bikini!

The Blonde: He never did it for me and, after how scary HE looks these days, you in a bikini is a sight for any eyes!

The Maven: Let's wrap this review up. Talladega Nights is not a consistent comedy, but it sure is funny. You can leave your brain at the door, you won't need it. Will Ferrell has this sheepish innocence character down pat. The script gives every one a chance to be funny and the racing scenes are well shot. It's like watching ESPN. Even Dale Earnheart shows up! I rate the movie a B for its bountiful humor and the way it is blended with the NASCAR side of life.

The Blonde: This movie was JUST what you think it is..... dumb, BUT funny. For a night out and a few laughs, GO! I rate it a B- - -. For your film snacks, wait until after the film and go get some rocky road ice cream... See you on the ROAD.

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